Arabic calligraphy integrates the intangible heritage of Unesco

Intangible cultural heritage, or “living heritage”, is “a heritage from our ancestors that we pass on to our descendants”, defines Unesco. He understands “oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events”. After the Congolese rumba, it is the turn of Arabic calligraphy to adopt this new status.

“To be defined as intangible cultural heritage, a cultural practice must be dynamic … It must have meaning in people’s lives”, according to Tim Curtis, secretary of the UNESCO convention on the subject, adopted in 2003. The integration of Arabic calligraphy into intangible heritage of Unesco, has been defended by sixteen countries, at the top of which Saudi Arabia, for which Islam is the dominant or majority religion.

The integration of Arabic calligraphy was announced by the UN agency on Twitter. Saudi Minister of Culture Badr ben Abdullah ben Farhane, quoted by the government news agency, welcomed this decision, believing that it would “contribute to developing this cultural heritage “.

“Arabic calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting Arabic script in a fluid manner in order to express harmony, grace and beauty”, described the UN agency. She “has always served as a symbol of the Arab-Muslim world”, had told AFP Abdelmajid Mahboub, an executive of the Saudi History Preservation Society, an NGO involved in the project.

Corn “many people no longer write by hand because of the evolution of technology”, and the number of artists specializing in Arabic calligraphy is drastically reduced, he regretted. The inscription in the intangible heritage of Unesco, in this sense, “will certainly have a positive impact” on its preservation, had said again Abdelmajid Mahboub.

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